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Antique Golf Clubs from Scotland
David K White
St Louis/Cleveland
David K White The son of the most famous of the early St Andrews blacksmiths turned cleek makers, Robert White and wife, Ann, David Kilpatrick White was born in the town on 22 September 1882.

His father’s business went bankrupt in 1896 and Robert emigrated to America, as the eldest son Robert jnr had done a couple of years before. He found work as a clubmaker with Spalding in Chicopee, MA, and David and the rest of the family joined him there in 1899. The 1900 US Census shows David living at home, described as a golf clubmaker/labourer, so presumably he found work with Spalding also. A later newspaper article indicates he also found a golf professional position at the nearby Hampton Country Club. After a year here he moved to a club in Milwaukee from where he entered and played in the 1901 US Open at Myopia.

His next stop was the Algonquin CC in St Louis, MO, arriving in 1903 he stayed until 1909 playing in, at least, the 1906 US Open. In 1909 he became professional at the Audubon CC in Louisville, Kentucky, for a year.

In 1911 he moved to Cleveland, OH, and played in the US Open in Buffalo with the affiliation of the Golfers’ Club, Cleveland and in 1913, in the Ohio State Championship, he played from the Highland Park club in Cleveland. Between the two dates he also became assistant to Gertrude Harrison, the world’s first woman professional when she opened her golf school in Euclid Avenue. He advertised his instruction and clubmaking at this golf school while working as professional at other clubs Dover Bay, Cleveland, from 1916 and in 1919 at the new Sylvania CC in Toledo.

The Toledo club had been started in 1917 to a design by Willie Park Jr and White was the first professional at the club when it opened in 1919. He competed in the Western Open from here that year and, in 1920, he and Charles Lorma, professional at the Inverness club, played against Harry Vardon and Ted Ray at Sylvania on the Jerseymen’s US tour. 1919 also marked the start of his winter residence at Bisbee, Arizona, where he was professional at the Warren District Country Club for the winter months. In that first year he had five of his clubs stolen from the clubhouse but it did no deter him as he returned every year up until 1928 when he also found time to play in the Los Angeles Open in January 1929.

Back in Ohio, after a year in Toledo he was appointed professional at the Willowick CC in Wickliffe in 1920. He qualified for the matchplay, as it was then, finals of the USGA in Chicago but met an in-form Gene Sarazen in the second round, losing 11 and 10 over 36 holes in one of the largest margins of defeat in the competition’s history. He qualified again in 1925 and for the 1926 US Open played in Columbus.

By 1930 he is playing in a pro-am with the affiliation of the Airport Country Club, Cleveland, and in 1933 he played in the Ohio State Championship without a club beside his name. On the 1940 census for Willoughby, OH, he is shown as a golf club manager.

David White died in Willoughby, OH, on 5 February 1960 and is buried with his wife, Amelia, in Willoughby Village Cemetery.

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